The Expansion of the Scheme refers to the design, construction and commissioning of the proposed Expansion Infrastructure.
The proposed Expansion comprises:
the addition of a fourth pump at Pump Station 1 and associated electrical, control and auxiliary equipment;
installation of up to two additional pumps at Pump Station 2 and associated electrical, control and auxiliary equipment;
installation of intake and discharge pipework for the third and perhaps fourth pumps at Pump Station 2 (dependent on detailed design);
expansion of the Head Pond to accommodate maximum capacity within a 4 hectare area;
installation of various distribution extensions from the new pipeline spine;
construction and electrical connection of necessary distribution pump stations;
inter-connection to the Existing Infrastructure to optimize hydraulics; and
enhancement of Existing Distribution Infrastructure via extension or upgrades.
The Company's strategy has been that Expansion of the Scheme will be progressively developed as farmer uptake/demand for the remaining water occurs and, accordingly, the Expansions proposed above are all subject to farmer uptake/demands.
The Company will need to make certain upgrades to the Existing Primary Infrastructure in order to ensure there is sufficient capacity to service the expanded area, and these upgrades are included the Expansion.
Through the inter-connection to, and enhancement of, the Existing Infrastructure there will be Shares available for allocation within the Existing Command Area to Farmer Irrigators who own Land which is serviced by the Existing Infrastructure.
The concept for the Expansion Infrastructure has evolved and been refined over several years. Possible route alignments have been walked by surveyors, flown over by consultants and contractors, and pored over through various geospatial media such as Google Earth and ArcGIS.
In combination with the experience from Stage 1 farmers and various regional pod group meetings and through an Expression of Interest ("EOI") process, a strong understanding of the Share demand throughout the Command Area has been developed. This demand has been applied to the possible route alignments with consideration of the future uptake of Shares over the next several years to provide a schedule of quantities for consideration of construction costs.
Estimated Construction Costs
The total capital cost of construction of the Expansion Infrastructure has been based on the concept design and is estimated to be $53.2 million (including design, construction, supervising and contingency).
All cost estimates for the construction of the Expansion Infrastructure have been estimated based on industry precedents. The schedule of quantities prepared through concept design was used to prepare an Engineer's cost estimate with a peer review being completed. In addition, the Company has adopted an Early Contractor Involvement ("ECI") process to further develop the unit rates feeding into the cost estimate and to understand the opportunities and risks within the project. Several ECI workshops have been undertaken and a risk register prepared that captures, quantifies and assigns the risks and opportunities identified. Where possible within that risk register, the mitigation or management actions required have been captured to realize opportunities, or control as far as possible the impact of these risks. The risk and opportunity register provides the basis for an appropriate contingency allowance to be carried into the detailed design and construction phase.
To assist in the design process, the Company is in the process of sending out option agreements to grant easements to all identified owners of land where pipeline routes are currently proposed to traverse. These are intended to assess willingness on behalf of such landowners to allow the Company to install pipelines through the proposed routes and to alter such routes if significant objections are encountered. Once a finalized route for the Expansion Infrastructure is identified, the Company will seek to protect the Expansion Infrastructure by way of registration and access agreements as may be required.
All Shareholders are required to enter into a Water Supply Agreement with the Company. The Water Supply Agreement includes an obligation on irrigators to allow the Company access to land where pipelines are or are proposed to be situated, and to grant easements in favour of the Company protecting the right to convey water in gross over such land.
The Company proposes to construct the Expansion Infrastructure between January 2015 and October 2016.
Because the Expansion has to be integrated into the Existing Infrastructure, the programming approach taken will reflect the need to complete certain works in the non-irrigation season and therefore design and construction will likely proceed on a staged basis to preserve reliability for existing Shareholders.